116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — After another year of compounded challenges for restaurants, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance has some big changes in store to adapt Cedar Rapids Restaurant Week to local needs.
The biggest one: no Fork and Knife Feast to bring diners into one place at one time with unprecedented staff shortages facing the industry. Instead, diners will get to explore restaurants on their own over a now extended 10-day event — up from the typical seven days.
“Restaurants tell us now that they love Restaurant Week, and it definitely helps boost business and attention to our really unique places, but they don’t have the work force to pack everything, haul it, staff an event for two to four hours and pack up,” said Doug Neumann, executive director of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. “We listened to them.”
What: Cedar Rapids Restaurant Week
Where: 21 participating restaurants
When: Friday, Feb. 18 through Sunday, Feb. 27.
Details: With no Fork and Knife Feast this year, enjoy restaurants at your own pace over 10 days. Find punch cards at participating restaurants and receive a stamp from restaurants with purchases of $20. Punch cards can be turned in to the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance for the chance to win a variety of prizes and gift cards to local restaurants.
Without a big kickoff event, this year’s Restaurant Week will focus on educating the public and mobilizing them to check out the locally-owned dining scene with two full weekends to explore. To help with that, the Economic Alliance is offering a punch card for diners to win gift cards and prizes.
After receiving five stamps on punch cards, available at participating restaurants, diners can turn them in to the Economic Alliance to be entered into giveaways for a mixture of prizes and gift cards to restaurants. Diners can receive stamps with a $20 purchase at participating restaurants, each offering its own promotional dishes or menus during Restaurant Week — some of which will be exclusive to the event.
“This year (involves) pushing social media and getting community members to go to participating restaurants,” said Maddix Stovie, event planner for the Economic Alliance. “It’s a little challenge anyone can do.”
The series of challenges for restaurants since 2020 has grown increasingly complex. First, it was dining room closures under state order. Then, supply chain disruptions, increased costs and staff shortages followed. Now in its fourth year of coordinating Restaurant Week, the Economic Alliance said the annual staple is taking on a more serious tone.
“I think it is more important than ever,” Neumann said. “Part of the message is: if you don’t support restaurants like this, they will no longer be here.”
Since the pandemic, Iowa has lost an estimated 750 restaurants, according to the Iowa Restaurant Association. Historically, February is the most challenging and low-revenue month for restaurants.
“Let’s make an intentional effort to make sure we’re not forgetting these places, and make them sustainable,” Neumann said.
This year, 21 restaurants will be participating — one more than last year — including 11 restaurants that were not on last year’s roster. New participants who have opened or reopened in the past year include Chophouse Downtown and Popoli Ristorante & Sullivan’s Bar.
Check out this year’s menu:
350 First (350 First Ave. NE): Green Chile Cornbread with fennel butter, goat cheese, chives; 350 Chicken and Waffle with breaded chicken, garlic mash waffle, apple butter, kale-cabbage slaw; Maple Butterscotch Pudding with cocoa nibs, tart cherry and black pepper jam, apple butter.
Black Sheep Social Club (600 First St. SE): Pork Sausage Terrine with Koji marinated pork, banana ketchup, black lime mayonnaise, apple kimchi.
Cedar Ridge (1441 Marak Road NW, Swisher): White Noise Cocktail with Bagger Vodka and LaCrescent white wine, Time In The Sun with Iowa Bourbon Whiskey; The Everything (Wood-Fired Pizza) with smoked brisket; Landlocked (Shareable) with Blue crab and vine ripened tomato alongside Old Bay Seasoned crostini.
Chophouse Downtown (411 First St. SE): Grilled Mahi Mahi with tropical chutney, grilled asparagus and roasted cauliflower mashed.
Fong’s Pizza (1006 Third St. SE): Peppadew Poppers with bacon-wrapped Peppadew peppers; Fong's Bowl Pizza with mashed potatoes, fried chicken, corn, gravy and more.
Groundswell Cafe (201 Third Ave. SW): Strawberry French toast; Fruit Parfait with Greek yogurt; Breakfast Potatoes; Pineapple Coconut Curry; Mango Salsa Salad with a sweet and zesty lime vinaigrette; Baba Ganoush Sandwich with lightly-breaded and fried eggplant and carrot bread
La Cantina Bar N Grill (5400 Edgewood Road NE): Margarita flights with four flavors, El Carnal with jalepeno tequila; appetizer platter with cheese dip, chicken quesadillas, sweet chili chicken wings and nachos; cheese flight; Seafood Trio; Birria Grilled Cheese with tomato & basil soup; Torta Ahogada sandwich immersed in salsa, spread with refried beans on each side, and filled with pork Carnitas; Tres Leches for dessert.
Lion Bridge Brewing Company (59 16th Ave. SW): Meatballs in Tikka Masala sauce; beef short ribs with strawberry-jalapeno sauce; Ginger peanut breaded plant-based Chick’n Cutlet with vegan Apple Slaw; Neapolitan cheesecake from The Cheesecake Lady; beer pairings available with items.
LP Street Food (302 Third Ave. SW): Smoked Pork Ramen; Sake To Me with Nigori Sake and LPSF House Ale; Apple Hand Pies with milk tea sorbet; Cider Shooter with Cedar Ridge Bourbon, Cedar Ridge Fruit Brandy and Wilson’s Orchard Apple Cider Syrup.
Lucky’s on 16th (86 16th Ave. SW): Cajun Seafood Benedict; Philly Sandwich; Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich with coleslaw and side.
Mulligan’s Pub (1060 Old Marion Road NE): Fried Banana Empanada; Brazilian Churrasco Steak Sandwich with marinated grilled flank steak on ciabatta roll with chimichurri; Blueberry Caipirinha.
NaRa Thai Cuisine (1725 Blairs Ferry Road, Marion): Lek Tom Yum; Country Pad Thai; Gra Pow Kai; Petite dumpling sampler; Pineapple Delight; Pad Cha Talay; Hang Lay Beef; Orange Duck; Thai Custard Cake.
Parlor City Pub & Eatery (1125 Third. St. SE): Turkey BLT; Hand-breaded chicken sandwich; daily house soups.
Pedalers Fork (2010 Sylvia Ave. NE): Seafood Florentine Lasagna with lobster and shrimp; Bruschetta Steak Salad; Pedalers Fork Pork Chop Plate; Chicken Parmesan; Balsamic Portobello Sandwich.
Popoli Ristorante & Sullivan’s Bar (101 Third Ave. SW): Three-Course meal for $25: Caprese appetizer; Cheese tortellini with pancetta in your choice of Pesto, Red or white sauce with a salad or soup; homemade bread pudding with caramel whiskey sauce for dessert.
Pub 217 (217 Third St. SE): Classic Meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes and candied carrots.
The Class Act (7725 Kirkwood Blvd. SW): Crispy Chicken BLT; Country Fried Beef Tenderloin; Fig and Salted Caramel Cheesecake.
The Edison Pub & Eatery (475 Northland Ave. NE): Three-Course Meal for $20: Choice of soup or salad; Mac and Cheese or Buffalo Mac and Cheese; Edison Burger with a choice of side; Pot Roast with mashed potatoes and veggies; Black out salad with bread; dessert of the day.
The Map Room (416 Third St. SE): Burger and cocktail for $24; “Ode to the Iowa Potluck” special smash cheddar burger topped with Waldorf style slaw, Wake Up Iowa! encrusted Pork Loin, maple aioli and bacon. Served with Old Fashioned Corn on the Cob Cocktail with Cedar Ridge rye.
Tomaso’s Pizza Cedar Rapids (3234 Center Point Road NE): Restaurant Week Meal for $32 with garlic cheese bread, one Medium Detroit Mombo Combo Pizza and two drinks; Mombo Combo with pepperoni, sausage, fresh mushrooms, hand-sliced onion and green peppers and California black olives.
Vito’s on 42nd (4100 River Ridge Drive NE): Vito's Scallops; Vito’s Surf & Turf with filet mignon; Pork Cutlets Papa Gallo; Electric Lemonade with Absolut Citron and Blue Curacao; Tiramisu Martini with Amaretto, Kahlua and Vanilla Vodka; daily dessert options.
The Gazette is a sponsor of Cedar Rapids Restaurant Week.
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